Intro and Gameplay
Oh the memories. The memories of playing the very first Street Fighter at a local gas station arcade so many years ago. I remember the incredible yet janky gameplay and the kooky sound effects. It was a great into for the series but it wasn't until the groundbreaking Street Fighter II that I really fell in love with it as a whole. Many a quarter were lined up and spent as I fell in love with Ryu, Blanka, and the rest of the small yet varied roster of contestants. Fast forward to 2016 and now we've been bombarded with media from the latest entry and expectations were extremely high, especially amongst competitive players. I was absolutely stoked to jump into the fray, especially cross platform between PS4 and PC players. Could the Street Fighter we've all been waiting for finally be upon us?! Ohhhhhh snap! I was about to find out after installing my Steam review copy..
I immediately chose to enter into survival mode to get used to the game and start kicking some trash. Oh, the gameplay! It's so silky smooth, blazing fast, and just feels RIGHT! After building up some skills, I jumped back to the main menu to see what else I could do. Quickly, my hopes were dashed into pieces as I realized that there was no real arcade made, an extremely laughable story mode and the servers were constantly in flux, signing in and out. Once again, I found a few casual matches that weren't completely full of lag but that was rare and in between. For every thing this game gets right, it gets two more wrong. The content that is there, is polished but with so many issues, offline versus and survival is the only real viable options. What an absolute shame and wasted opportunity here. Also, even the offline modes give little to no reward so the satisfaction factor is extremely low regardless of which mode or method of fighting you choose. Perhaps this would have been better as an episodic or even early access launch to iron out the bugs. Something. Anything. Because beneath all the problems lies a sweet game with incredible fighting mechanics.
Graphics and Sound
If there's one thing that this game gets absolutely right, it's the graphics and animation. They are fluid, beautiful, and quite stunning in most cases. Sometimes the fighters look a little wonky due to the claymation-like art style but overall, it's a looker for sure. Honestly, the stages could be a bit better but this probably the strongest point of the game and it's sad to see something so beautiful yet so broken. All the moves and especially the flashy EX effects never get old as they are gorgeous while feeling extremely powerful.
The sound design is about what you'd expect. Forgettable music and a mix of OK to horrid voices for the characters. Nothing of note here, moving on... It's nothing out of the ordinary in the fighting genre but nothing to write home about either.
Value and Conclusion
So it comes to this. See the screenshot above? The left and right characters are the gaming industry releasing broken/unfinished games at launch, and us gamers are the one being sandwiched in the middle for being misled out of our hard earned cash. I figured that most games like this suffer from first and second day launch problems but even in my last session, almost a week after launch, I jumped online for several casual and ranked matches. I won several of them but after every single match, I got some sort of server error and NONE of my wins or progress was recorded whatsoever. Not to mention, several matches, people quit when they were going to lose and there was no credit given to me and no punishment to the quitter. This makes would could be an incredibly tense and fun game, next to pointless.
I keep trying to give this game so many chances and I really, really wanted to master it, love it, and compete somewhat competitively online. As it stands, all the bugs, connection issues, and lack of game modes is just plain unacceptable for an online, competitive focused game. Not only that, the single player content is extremely sparse for a $60 title. We as gamers deserve better. We as consumers deserve much better for our gaming dollar. As a game reviewer, I honestly cringe at scoring games like this. I see huge wasted potential and when the game works, it feels fantastic but that is so far and in between, there is just no excuse. This game may be fixed in six months from now, who knows, but as it stands, it's beautiful yet broken mess.